I don’t have faith in Rush…

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On Rush’s new album, Snakes & Arrows, they have a song called “Faithless.” It’s a bit of light fare typical of their output over the last 20 years, not particularly good and not particularly bad. It contains the following lines:

I don’t have faith in faith
I don’t believe in belief
You can call me faithless
I still cling to hope
And I believe in love
And that’s faith enough for me

Personally, I’m half sympathetic to the extent faith and belief are abstracts that aren’t important without the more concrete love and hope. It’s similar to the old theological argument of “salvation by faith” versus “salvation by works” and Peart shows himself to be a bit of a lightweight in this area by suggesting that only the works matter without regard to a broader consciousness in which to frame them. That’s okay though. They’re rock lyrics and shouldn’t be expected to be philosophically complete. The real trouble that I have with them strictly as lyrics is that they seem like empty words, similar to the abstract concepts about which they complain.

In contrast, John Lennon expressed a similar sentiment with these words in his song, “God”:

I don’t believe in magic
I don’t believe in I-Ching
I don’t believe in Bible
I don’ believe in Tarot
I don’t believe in Hitler
I don’t believe in Jesus
I don’t believe in Kennedy
I don’t believe in Buddha
I don’t believe in Mantra
I don’t believe in Gita
I don’t believe in Yoga
I don’t believe in kings
I don’t believe in Elvis
I don’t believe in Zimmerman
I don’t believe in Beatles
I just believe in me
Yoko and me
And that’s reality

Frankly, I’m uncomfortable with some of what Lennon says here, but the way he says it touches me. It’s warm and real, because he ties it into more than just abstract ideas, he ties it to himself. John Lennon said a lot that I find to be half-baked gibber-jabber that people only listened to because he was a Beatle, but while I don’t sympathize with all he says in “God,” I believe him when he says it. I can’t say that about Rush. Maybe Neil Peart should have stuck to writing about By-Tor and the Snow Dog.

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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